If you’ve ever assumed that South Carolina’s fifty-three percent high school graduation rate is having an adverse affect on the economy, it looks like you’re right.
Today, the South Carolina Policy Council released a joint study with the Friedman Foundation detailing just how many taxpayer dollars are being flushed down the drain due to an underperforming South Carolina education system.
According to the study, every class of South Carolina drop-outs costs the state a whopping 98 million dollars a year, and five BILLION (that’s Billion with a ‘B’) over the course of their lives.
Maybe we’re overreacting, but 98 million a year ain’t chicken feed.
In 2005 alone, almost 31,000 out of the 59,000 that started high school four years earlier failed to graduate. As stated in the study, these 31,000 young people will make $8,000 less annually than their graduating classmates (if they can find employment), be twice as likely to rely on Medicaid, and be twice as likely to go to jail.
We’ve been saying for years that school choice will provide the options necessary to help all students, particularly those who have never been enrolled in anything but a failing school. Competition is a factor that consistently raises graduation rates and achievement in public schools, so why is it persistently rejected by the South Carolina education establishment? Friedman Foundation Senior Fellow Robert Enlow quotes, “School choice improves education quality for all children, and it does so without reducing per pupil funding in the public schools. In fact, competition raises achievement across the board. A choice program in South Carolina would improve the education system and save the state millions of dollars.”
Just think, if the South Carolina General Assembly had endorsed school choice three years ago, we could have saved thousands of children and a mighty large portion of the 300 million dollars that’s been wasted over that time period.